Do you remember when you were a child and your parents took you to an amusement park. What was your favorite ride? Many children state that their favorite ride was the carousel, or merry-go-round. The carousel is an awesome ride because it has it all. It has mirrors, lights, organ playing circus music, and beautifully decorated horses and carriages.
If you ask some of the old-timers, they may tell you about a time when the carousel was made completely out of wood. The horses were made out of metal and were always attractively painted. The carousel became extremely popular during the years of 1890 to 1920. During this time period people of all ages would flock to this novelty attraction.
Today, we see the carousel being used primarily by children. There are two things that children love. They love horses and they love going on an amusement park ride. It is interesting to note that during the popular years of the carousel there were approximately 2000 to 3000 hand-painted, hand-carved carousels in operation throughout the United States. It is sad to say that there are now only about 150 of these original carousels in operation.
One of the reasons why the early carousels have disappeared from many amusement parks and locations is because of the popularity of collecting antiques. Antique carousel owners realized that they could make more money from their carousel if they sold it off one piece at a time. They also realized the high expense that it would cost to refurbish an entire carousel.
If you are in the market for purchasing one of the rare antique carousel animals such as neaky that Tiger?then you should be prepared to pay in the five figure range for this masterly carved piece of history. Due to the alarming dismantling of early carousels there was an association formed in 1970. Today that association, called the National Carousel Association, continues to advocate for full carousel restoration.
Many of the collectors who had purchased the antique carousel animals have now donated their animals and collections to museums. This will allow current and future generations to appreciate the marvelous period of time that existed when carousels reigned throughout North America.
If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where there is still an original wooden carousel then you should consider taking your entire family for an outing that you will remember for years.